Section 7: Lobbying Governments to Support Signature and Ratification or Accession of the OP-ICESCR
Government officials and parliamentarians committed to the promotion of economic, social and cultural rights should be actively engaged in the discussions of the OP-ICESCR and support its prompt ratification or accession.
7.1 Some Reasons why Governments Should Support the entry into force of an OP-ICESCR: The OP-ICESCR will enter into force, meaning it will start functioning, three months after 10 countries have ratified or accede to it.
1. The OP-ICESCR will strengthen national mechanisms for the implementation and promotion of economic, social and cultural rights:
Ratification will represent a step towards the fulfilment of the international commitment made during the World Conference on Human Rights held in Vienna in 1993, as well as demonstrate the government's dedication to the promotion of economic, social and cultural rights.
The OP-ICESCR will help strengthen national level capacity to deal with violations of economic, social and cultural rights. The OP-ICESCR procedures will be available as a "last resort." The communications and inquiry procedures are only meant to be used when no processes or remedies are available at the national level to address gaps in national laws and policies or to address violations of the rights protected in the Covenant. The recommendations of the Committee on ESCR would add to national level efforts to realize economic, social and cultural rights.
The drafting process of the OP-ICESCR created lively debates on the individual and collective dimensions of economic, social and cultural rights. Furthermore, the development of procedures aimed at the protection of economic, social and cultural rights at the international level provides conceptual clarity on the justiciability of the rights contained in the ICESCR.
Discussions on the draft OP-ICESCR provided an opportunity for government bodies to discuss the adequateness of resources and mechanisms available for the promotion and implementation of the ICESCR at the national level.
2. The OP-ICESCR encourages greater coherence in government policy and action:
By supporting the elaboration of the OP-ICESCR and promoting the implementation of the recommendations of the Committee on ESCR, all government bodies will be expressing their commitment and political will to promote ESCR. This in turn will be likely to contribute to better coordination of concerted action at all levels of government.
3. The OP-ICESCR process provides an opportunity to generate greater awareness of the ICESCR at the national level as well as contribute to better implementation and greater ownership of the ICESCR by government officials and civil society.
(Source: Materials the International Women's Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific (IWRAW-AP),section on the Optional Protocol to CEDAW)